Cleo was abused at the age of ten, but she couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone because of threats from her abuser. So she kept her worst nightmares to herself without letting anyone in. Aside the threats, she was scared of societal stigmatisation, and keeping quiet about the whole thing seemed the best option for her.

Anytime Cleo thought of that fateful day, she would snap into an unhappy state. She hated the uncle that violated her essence and made her loose her innocence. She tried so many times to forgive and forget, but to no avail. Her emotions just wouldn’t let her. She was buried in the hurts from her past – the anger, betrayal, shame, and fear. That was why she made a solemn decision never to be vulnerable again and always to protect the vulnerable around her.

Years later, marriage came and blessed her with a female child. From the very first day, Cleo loved baby Mona and swore to protect her from every evil man out there. She became the overprotective mum, as she wouldn’t let her daughter associate with anyone, especially the male folk. As Mona grew up into a beautiful lady, she couldn’t help but wonder why her mom never gave her any breathing space. She became lonely, depressed and even distant from the one woman that tried so much to protect her.

One evening, Mona was all alone in the house when the driver came in to drop a package for her mom. Her mom trusted the driver. He was an elderly man who couldn’t hurt a fly. Besides, he was to simply drop the package and go right back to the office. Mona was surprised when the driver gently locked the door and pounced on her. She had no idea what he was doing. All she knew was that she was hurt… There was blood everywhere. Mona was only nine.

That was many years ago. Mona never told anyone what the driver did to her. With her mom’s many NGO’s about sexual awareness, Mona was sure her mom would somehow have blamed her, even though no one told her exactly what sexual awareness meant. She guessed her experience was why her mom tried to keep her away from people. Now Mona has a boy and a girl. She still has nightmares as she fears that she may not be able to protect her little kids from the hostile world…

Shouldn’t we be a little more open to our children? They understand much more than we think…

© Chimamaka Nwankwo, 2017
Photo Credit: @penciledcelibrities